Martin Stellar - Coach & Consultant for ethical sales and business growth

Martin Stellar - Coach & Consultant for ethical sales and business growth

Moving Parade

A few times a week I spend some time at the terrace of a local restaurant here in town, to do some work and warm myself in the sun.

As any restaurant that wants people in for lunch and dinner, they have signs with menu items – but this owner, he only puts them out an hour or so before lunch time.

Now, I don’t know if there’s a logical reason behind it, or if it’s the fabled Andalusian laziness, or simply not thinking things through, but I do know this:

The 150 to 500 people who walk by in the morning do not get the message that – hey, here you can eat, it’s not just a café!

So when the time comes that a tourist gets hungry, this restaurant is not one of the ones they remember as an option for grabbing a bite to eat, because they haven’t seen any sign or menu advising them that it’s an option.

In marketing there’s the concept of the ‘moving parade’: the notion that there’s always a stream of people who might want what you sell, and that it’s your job to stay in view, or in touch, so that when they’re ready to buy, you’re the one they think of.

So these 150 to 500 people, that’s his moving parade, literally. And if only he’d advertise to them that he serves food and not just drinks and coffee, he’d likely see an uptick in diners and lunchers. (Yes, I’ll mention it to him, see if he agrees and wants see if it makes a difference).

Now, in any business there’s a moving parade. There’s always folk who know about you, who are thinking of buying your work but it’s not the time yet, and so the question is:

What are you doing in your business, to stay visible and remembered, by the people in your moving parade?

Cheers,

Martin

“If There’s No CTA, All You’ve Done Is Make Art”

Heard that on a podcast this morning, not sure who first said it. But it’s true, in business.

Now before any artists reading this get upset: I’m not slating anything about art or artists. In fact, art is an important and valuable part of history and society and culture – and thank you all for making it.

That said, when you create marketing materials – emails, videos, presentations, social updates – and you don’t end with a call to action, what you’ve done is a public service…

… without serving your business – like art, it’s good for people and society.

It’s useful, good, gratefully received, builds goodwill and trust and rapport – but it doesn’t serve your business.

Because a business needs customers, and – oddly – you’ll get more of them when you ask.

That doesn’t mean you need to go all ‘buy now’ in everything you put out there, mind you.

You can invite your audience to take any kind of action – so long as you ask them for some kind of action you suggest they take.

“Hit reply…”

“Check out the course…”

“Buy it if it’s right for you”

“Share this with a friend?”

“Tell me, what’s your view?”

“You’ve learned the exercise, now I highly recommend you take some time for it.”

“Now that you know the cost of sloppy thinking, is it time to start thinking better and making better decisions?”

“Think about it…”

You see, there’s a million actions your reader or viewer can take.

The best one for business is one that leads to a sale, of course.

But on days when you’re not driving for a sale, or your intention is to serve or inform or train or entertain, you’re missing out if you don’t also invite the person to take some sort of action.

You’ve just done something intended to change or better their life.

What better thing to do, than to ask them to action it?

Think about it… see how you can work CTA’s into your own materials.

Or, you can talk to me if you’re ready to level up your marketing and sales in a big way.

Either way: I highly recommend you always use a CTA.

Cheers,

Martin

P.s. Here’s an example of another fun CTA you can use:

If you’ve considered contacting me about my work but haven’t yet… what’s the thing you want the most for your business… the thing you want so much, that you’ll click this link and schedule a short conversation, so I can learn what you want and you can learn if I’m the right one to help you get it…?

Free Solo Business Climbing

Saw a rock climber on youtube the other day. Nicely strapped in to his harness, helmet on, safely in his ropes.

And then he noticed a guy coming up the wall below him – a free solo climber.

No gear, no ropes – just shoes, shorts, and a bag of magnesium on his hip.

As he passed the first climber, you could see the intensity of his state. Never even seemed to notice the first guy. Completely in the zone. (And you’d better be of course, if you’re hanging off a cliff face with nothing to protect you_.

My point with this?

Most people who get their business to some sort of stability think they’re like climber #1. Things in place, infrastructure, advertising that works, money coming in & being invested…

“Got my helmet, my harness, my ropes… if I play it right, things will continue good”.

Except that’s a mistake. A business owner is as much as risk as a solo climber, in that anything can happen at any moment, that voids your safety or security. I.e. a rock can fall or a rope can break.

Or in business terms: A privacy law like GDPR can decimate your list, or a platform can ban or demonetise you, or a competitor can suddenly show up and start eating up the market you’re in, or a disaster in your personal life can wipe out your finances…

Like a helicopter, a business is inherently volatile – including the big ones (even Jeff Bezos said that Amazon won’t be around at some point).

Now, back to our climbers: the reason the soloist doesn’t fall, is that he relies 100% on his own skills and focus.

And while it’s good to have gear and protection and buffers and infrastructure in your business, never forget that it’s by virtue of your skills and focus that you built, and can sustain & grow, your business.

We all need to build our business assets in order to protect us, but you can’t rest on your laurels, can’t afford to think the rope will catch you if you fall.

Use your skill and focus in business to prevent the fall in the first place.

See yourself as a free solo business climber, and show up with the focus and application of skills required…

… and stay safe…

Cheers,

Martin

Something You Might Find Useful – Because All Mind and No ‘Make’ Makes Martin a Dull Boy

Used to be, I’d be making things all day long. Suits when I was still a tailor, walls and plumbing and carpentry in the monastery, copywriting in my copywriter days, the 16-page LEAP marketing premium newsletter, when I still sold that…

And at some point, I started coaching.

Which is a beautiful thing to do, to spend time in sacred space with clients who are keen to change things. From the heart, all the way.

But there’s a problem and it kept getting bigger: coaching is a ‘brain only’ thing. And heart and emotion too, of course, but there’s no making involved. No doing things that are then ready, to be used or shown or shared.

And especially over the last year, I’ve been getting increasingly frustrated that my work didn’t involve making stuff.

Which is why I decided to bring back a service that has me do stuff and make stuff:

Growth-driving marketing consulting.

Because in the marketing system for growing business that I use, there’s a lot of work for me to do.

Sure, it’s not as sexy as coaching. And some would say it’s a step down, but I don’t really care – I want to make things!

And no, it doesn’t rely on my 25 years of learning psychology and it doesn’t involve deeply personal conversations.

But that’s fine, because I get to do things and make things – yay!

So. If coaching isn’t something you’re looking for, but you ARE looking to grow your business and you want me to implement a tested&proven marketing system for you, let me know.

I’ve not made a web page explaining the service yet, but for now I can tell you that a) this marketing system is affordable, and b) comes with a guarantee:

You’ll see at least 20% growth in revenue, otherwise I’ll continue working the system at no cost, until that 20% growth shows up.

Let me know if you’re interested… we’ll set up a call to see if this is right for you, and proceed from there if it is.

Cheers,

Martin

Choosing Which Problems to Solve

At any given time, there’s a million things you could try to fix, change, or improve in your business – a million different problems you could solve.

But which one are most in need of solving?

Those that are easy to solve often don’t make that much of a difference, whereas the hairy ones are often too complex or time-consuming to tackle.

And yet, the hardest, most complex, most complicated problems tend to make the biggest difference once they get solved… except we avoid it, because they’re so complex.

The solution is to look for the problem behind the problem (similar to the 5-why’s exercise).

If ‘no traffic to my site’ is the problem, an obvious solution would be ‘fix SEO’ or ‘start guest posting’ or ‘start a podcast’.

Or you could ask yourself why you have no traffic to your site, and you realise that behind ‘no traffic’ lies ‘no visibility’, and behind that you might find ‘never made visibility a priority’ and behind that ‘insufficient attention to long-term business sustainability’.

Pretty nice discovery on the heart of the matter, I’d say.

And if you then solve that problem, and you make long-term thinking a priority, you might end up with solutions and actions that don’t just bring traffic, but that make your business healthier in general.

The problems you look at are only the surface.

Dig deeper before trying to solve them.

Cheers,

Martin

“That’ll Be 75 ‘Likes’, Please” – Said Nobody, Ever

It’s nice to be popular, but when the barista rings up your order and you tell him “I’ve got 100.000 followers on Instagram!” he might be impressed, but his reply will still be “2.95, please”.

Likes, followers, social sharing: it’s nice, it can be useful too, but in the end, playground popularity doesn’t pay the bills.

I’ve written about it before, but David Newman in his book ‘Do it! Speaking’ put a fine point on it (I’m reading the book because this year I want to get serious about public speaking).

Says he: “An audience values an experience. A market values expertise”

And: “An audience wants your autograph. A market wants to give you their signature”.

(Interestingly, very recently I experienced the difference firsthand: I went to a lecture on a topic I’m interested in, but the speaker didn’t really do it for me, and the content of the lecture was too superficial for my taste. So, I’d never buy the speaker’s book, or hire them for a talk… in that room, I was part of the audience, not part of the market).

And sure, of course your market lives inside, is part of, your audience.

But if you focus your business and marketing activities on growing your audience instead of finding the right market and the right way to appeal to them, you’ll be spinning your wheels.

So if you look at your business operations, and the projects you’re working on, and your plans for the year:

Are you looking to build your audience, or your market…?

Also: do you want help, building your market?

Cheers,

Martin

How to Make It Much More Likely You’ll Actually Get the Job Done

A quiet Sunday, and I’m having coffee at the beach with friends.

“I don’t get it”, she says. “I keep telling myself that this weekend, I’ll get stuck in and do this or that big job I have. And I always end up procrastinating on it and doing something else. But I resolved to do it, with all the intent I have – so why don’t I do it?”

There’s a university full of psychologists who could make a fortune answering that question, but in the end, the why isn’t relevant.

More relevant and more useful is asking ‘in what way do I need to show up, execute, or perform, so that the job can get done?’

Consider:

If you say “I’ll get it done this weekend” means you saddle yourself with an amount of work, time-spend and exertion, that you can’t completely measure or schedule for. Too many moving parts, no telling how much energy you’ll have or how much you’ll actually need…

So the moment you show up to do the job, your subconscious gets overwhelmed and poof goes your motivation, and hello Netflix.

If you want to get a job done, don’t impose a ‘done’ on yourself.

Instead, decide to spend time working on it, with the specific attitude and type of focus required to do that job.

Process instead of outcome – and the attitude you’ll need to bring in order to perform the process best as can.

This weekend, I wanted to knock my projects & tasks back into shape. And so I didn’t say “I’ll sort Todoist out”, but instead my intent was:

“I’m going to spend time like a strategist, and give my most top-level mindwork to planning out my weeks and months, and making sure all my projects are sorted properly” – and yep, that worked.

‘Complete a project’ isn’t a very good goal. It’s an outcome that results from a goal that describes your way of operating… so when you want to get stuff done, choose not the goals, but the version of you (and the behaviour that version brings) that can make the goals real.

Cheers,

Martin

Much, Much Better Than New Year’s Resolutions

Now that the holidays are over and all the talk about the new year and resolutions has died down, let’s talk about something that actually works for creating change and growth:
Implementation intention.

Because if you’ve ever had another slice of pie, whilst telling yourself that come January, you’ll be on a diet, you’ve probably noticed that resolutions don’t work. I mean: no gym is as full in use in January, as the number of people who sign up for membership in December. QED etc.

The problem with resolutions is that they go against the way our brain works.

When you eat now and decide to diet later, you’re giving your future self a problem. Today hedonism, tomorrow diet…? Hell no. And thus, making the resolution is in itself a way to ensure you won’t keep it. You can try to enforce today’s decision on the person you are tomorrow, but the moment you do that, your subconscious rebels.

Implementation intention though is different. And it’s simple, elegant, and effective.

And to put it to use, simply take some time in the morning, and reflect on what you want to do today, what might get in the way, and what you’ll do if that happens.

In other words: you visualise the best-case scenario, and then the worst-case scenario, and then you build solutions into your plan, for when things go wrong.

And the simplest way is to use the IF / THEN format that pogrammers use.

In other words: simple process-rules.

IF: it’s a new day
THEN: take some time to reflect and plan, before jumping into work

IF: planning is done
THEN: close FB, IG, mail, airplane phone & set a timer for 20 or 40 or 60 minutes ofuninterrupted execution

IF: I’m feeling tired and tempted to go onto Facebook
THEN: close laptop and go for a walk/call a friend/do a few pushups/make some tea

IF: listed tasks are done
THEN: review calendar and todo-lists – and then take a break

See how simple and powerful it can be, to pre-define triggers, the actions that they cause, and solutions for when things break down?

Now obviously, planning your implementation intention doesn’t mean you’ll automatically get everything done. Sure you wrote the ‘programme’, but you’re not a computer, and you won’t always follow your own rules.

But once you have them, and you know what the rules are, you have a course, a compass, by which you can measure your performance.

And if you find that you deviated or slacked off, you can go back to your rules and re-commit, or revise them.

IF: didn’t stick with the plan
THEN: stop executing, sit down, review & improve plan

Right?

So here’s where implementation intention differs from resolutions.

A resolution is a decision you make once, and then it’s meant to keep you on track ongoingly, based off that single decision.

But for any change to happen, any order or discipline or progress to be made, decisions need to be made again, and again, and again.

You don’t ‘go on a diet’ – you decide each day, and with each delectable morsel that shows up in your day, to stick with the diet. Decision, decision, decision, over and over again.

You decide – with intentionality – on what you’ll implement and how, and you keep deciding over and over.

So, now that you’ve seen your resolutions dissolve like a whisp of smoke the way they always do… implementation intention is what will actually get the results.

Good luck, and let me know if you need any help.

Cheers,

Martin

Making Time for Our Most Important Roles

I often talk about ‘the suits we wear’ – the different roles we play depending on the context we’re in, or the task that’s at hand.

One of the fastest and easiest ways to create a sense of purpose, achievement and well-being – and to actually make results happen – is to get very conscious of these roles, and get very deliberate and intentional with them.

Because there’s a ton of them that we use – suits we wear – throughout our days: the seller, the writer, the listener, the bookkeeper, the courier, the self-carer, the student…

This can be either massively helpful, or dreadfully destructive, and the difference lies in intentionality.

Because most of the time, we jump from one role to the next as the situation seems to demand – like we’re multitasking our way through different ways of operating and showing up.

And that switching from one role to the next, that’s very costly in terms of our mental and emotional energy.

And, it slows us down because with each switch, we need to adjust and settle in, which can easily take 20 or 30 minutes.

Switch three of four times in a day, and and you lose an hour or more of your day – and most of us are switching all the time… no wonder we feel so drained and ineffective at the end of a day!

So to get the most out of all you got, consider the three main roles, and plan time for each:

There’s the Maker, who executes on tasks, gets jobs done, checks things off. That’s the creative, productive role, the one that produces output and tangible assets.

There’s the Strategist, who analyses the status quo, assesses the playing field, and who creates and schedules plans, develops hypotheses and tests in order to improve operations.

And, very importantly, the Strategist lays out the work for the Maker, who loves that because the Maker doesn’t want to think, plan, or decide – the Maker just wants to know what nail needs hitting next, so that he can get on with it
and get jobs done.

And then there’s the third main role, which I’ll call The Performer, though that’s not an ideal label.

But the Performer is the one who shows up, delivers a talk or a pitch, who publishes videos and articles, who writes books and teaches and coaches and trains:

It’s the public-facing side of your brand and business.

Each of these core three roles need attention, and space blocked out in your calendar.

Because these roles are essential for building and growing a business – for anything in life that you want to achieve, really.

I mean, you’ll never catch that flight unless you spend at least some time, and yesterday’s dishes tend to not get done unless we call in the Maker.

That’s why I like to see these roles as distinct identities I can step into, and I make sure I plan time for each of them.

And if ever you find yourself struggling, or annoyed that things aren’t working, ask yourself:

Is my Strategist getting enough time, and doing a good job?

Is my Maker supplied with outlined workplans, and given time to make things?

Is my Performer (or Artist, or Teacher, or Coach, or whatever is your ‘show-up’ archetype) getting out there enough, and am I creating enough time for him/her?

You’ll notice that each question includes ‘time’, and you’ll likely find that one or more aren’t getting dedicated, intentinally planned time, but instead are being given the scraps of the calendar.

Switch that up, block out time for that role, and watch what changes.

Should bring interesting results, so let me know if you anything cool happens…

Cheers,

Martin

Business Growth, Made Simple

Ever notice how easy it is to complicate things?

We decide to grow our business, choose an approach and a plan, and before we know it there’s endless todo-lists, multiple areas of attention, several projects simultaneously under development, and a feeling of overwhelm that creeps up on us like thunderclouds on the horizon.

When in reality, growing a business can be very simple, even if that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

That said, the simpler things are, the easier to handle they are.

So if you want to grow your business in 2020, here’s a simple (heh) rule of thumb to guide you:

Create incremental growth in three core areas:

1: More potential clients

Plenty of options to make that happen: Social media posting, speaking gigs, workshops in your area, host webinars, organise an online summit, run FB ads… whatever is easiest (sic) for you in order to increase visibility

2: Higher conversion rates

Lots of people don’t pay attention here, and that’s costly because every potential customer who finds you or contacts you, has incurred a cost in your business – either in terms of time or money. The more people you can enroll, the more efficient your business becomes.

So ask yourself: what can I change in my branding, my site, my activities, my communications, so that more people sign on? (Hint: getting better at enrolling helps here, and my LEAP Ethical Sales Training makes you lots better).

3: Increase value per customer

I’m not saying you should supersize your customers, and unless you’re MacDonald’s I doubt your customers ‘want fries with that’.

But, there’s a good chance that a buyer will want an add-on when they buy from you, or perhaps after working with you, there’s another programme or course that would help them.

Except many business owners wrap up client projects and move on to finding more buyers, which that means you’re leaving money on the table – and it means that you might be underserving your buyers.

Sure, you’re not going to foist an upsell on anyone… but what if you can provide or do something that would delight a current customer, after their first stint with you?

Well, if you don’t offer it, nothing will happen. But if you do offer it, what might happen is that they buy, which brings the total lifetime value of that customer up.

So here’s some questions for you:

Do you think you could generate 10% more potential clients, next year? Can’t be too hard, can it? Only 10%….

And, could you raise your conversion rates by 10%? Probably yes, right?

And then, what if across the board you could raise the average customer lifetime value by 10%… could that be done? Very likely, yes. Again, 10% isn’t that much.

But if you apply the 10% growth across all three areas, you end up with a total of 33% growth for your business, and that’s nothing to sneeze at.

AND it’s something that most businesses can attain, AND it’s a super simple, testable strategy: 10% across three areas… what could be simpler?

So if you want to grow in 2020, do it the smart, simple way. Increase prospects, increase conversion rates, increase customer LTV, go for 10% in each area.

Simple, manageable, and a nice way to stay clear of overwhelm.

Want to chat and work out a few (simple!) ideas to help you grow 10% in each area?

Let me know…

Cheers,

Martin

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